Hello jet lag, my old friend

Jet lag is a strange phenomenon.  I always seem to struggle with it on the first night or two upon arrival after a long haul flight.  Currently is 2.45am in Orlando, Florida, where I’m sitting on the couch in our rented villa while the other 7 members of the family are sound asleep after a torturous 30+ hour journey.  However, I am wide awake after a glorious 3 hours sleep.

I always do this.  A couple of hours sleep, and typically then awake from about 1-4am.

I follow all the rules, no alcohol, limit caffeine, drink lots of water, get into the new timezone immediately upon arrival.  Out into the bright sunshine if possible.  Last night after we arrived, we stayed awake until a “normal” bedtime of 10pm and bang at 1am I’m awake.

Everything you read about tips for jet lag isn’t really relevent to long haul.  The advice given is useful for a handful of timezones, and just being a few hours out of sync.  Not usually relevant for a day and a half of travel and little or very disrupted sleep for nearly 36 hours.

In many foreign countries ( #firstworldproblems ), I have had the joy of watching the late night TV, or trying not to fidget and keep the others in the room awake.  This time we have a 4 bedroom home so I’m currently on the couch in the living room where I can tap away at the keyboard until sleep arrives again.

I no longer worry about it.   I just let it happen.

In fact I have decided, where possible to embrace it.  Many years ago, on a trip to Florida, I finally gave up, got dressed and went for a walk at around 3am around Disney’s Beach Club resort.  It was deserted!  This was and still is one of my favourite holiday memories.  There was something completely magical about having the resort to myself in the relative cool of the night.  Sounds of frogs and crickets filled the air and warm, damp climate really made me feel I was on holiday.

This left such a lasting impression on me, and my recounting it then made the family feel they had missed out on something special.

Eventually sleep will come, and I know from experience that later today, I’ll likely have an afternoon struggle to stay awake.  It’s just a matter of fighting through and after a night or two, I’ll be fine.

At least I know, usually, that I have no trouble with jet lag returning home.  There have only been a couple of occasions where I have struggled with it returning home.  Probably sleeping in my own bed and home helps.

So I know sleep will come sooner or later.



  1. I take it you are flying east from home? Flying major distances west does not bother people as much as flying east. While each person is different, I find sleeping when you want to sleep (except at meetings!) is conducive to overcoming jet lag more quickly. Just as you decided to take a stroll at 3 am (don’t do it in LA!), be active when you want to but catch the zzz’s when your body tells you to. At least it works for me. 😉

    • Unfortunately that doesn’t work on a 30+ hour journey and crossing around 16 time zones. We got up at 4am to catch a 4 hour flight at 7am. Then we had 2 hours in Brisbane before a 13 hour flight to LAX, then 3 hours there and a final 4.5 hour flight to Orlando… but it only took two nights before getting back to “normal” sleep patterns.

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